• http://www.redmudmedia.com Red_Mud_Rookie

    Well well well…. this is indeed interesting, but one would argue grossly unfair to SEOs. It begs the question, “What about all the printing companies, advertising and marketing agencies, search engines, directories, copywriters… ?” need I go on?
    all of whom have no doubt helped similar businesses sell their products without knowing whether or not they are legit.

    I for one have been helping a company who sells lake balls (golf balls lost in the water hazards) – Does that make me liable because I’m helping them sell products that the owners have not bothered or have no intention of retrieving themselves?

  • http://www.visionefx.net Rick Vidallon

    I Googled Bright Builders. YIKES. I don’t have to look past the first page of results to see that this lawsuit is just a small ripple in the splash this company has already made.

  • Marla Hughes

    Red Mud,
    There’s a huge difference between selling scrap or dumpster diving for your thrift shop and selling what you know is counterfeit merchandise.

    From what I read, the judge and jury looked at the website as they would a physical address, from the owners to the marketers. I don’t think the attorney put up a vigorous defense and legal incompetence could be argued for a re-trial IMHO.
    However, looking at the deeper subject of whether the SEO people SHOULD have known that the site was a rip off of Cleveland’s trademark, we’d have to know if the clubs were allowed to be sold in other than Cleveland shops or if retail outlets/stores also sold them. If so, the SEO would be held harmless unless it could be proven by more than keywords that they knew the actions of the website were illegal.
    Pawn shops have to take precautions to keep from selling stolen merchandise, but, even if they’re committing a crime, I don’t know of a case where marketing professionals have been held liable for their actions. Perhaps it’s my lack of knowledge and someone knows of cases on the books. Interesting discussion.

  • houseofcopy

    While I agree that any self-respecting SEO or SEO company should know what the heck their client sells ( I’m not going to blindly accept an online pharmacy site as a client without making sure what they do is legal), this should be a major wake up call to all SEOs, be they a company or freelance, to make sure your contract is DETAILED and SOLID.

    I mean that signed document should absolve you of everything save not following through on a statement of work to be performed.

    Protect yourselves and do your homework.

  • http://rosmarin-search-marketing.com Myron Rosmarin

    I’ve seen this story discussed in a couple of places and it feels to me that the “SEO” angle of this story is being over-played. It seems clear from the articles posted in various places that Bright Builders built, hosted and promoted a website that marketed and distributed counterfeit golf clubs for which they got punished. What about that is of interest to the search marketing profession?